Nursing homes step up precautions

Nursing homes in Singapore have adopted several measures, including dividing premises into distinct zones for staff and residents, to safeguard senior residents against Covid-19.

On Tuesday, the Ministry of Health (MOH) reported 99 total cases at United Medicare Centre in Toa Payoh - 85 residents, 13 staff and a household member of a case.

Cases were reported at a number of nursing homes last month, including Man Fatt Lam Elderly Joy Day Centre in Bedok, Windsor Convalescent Home in Pasir Panjang and Woodlands Care Home in Woodlands.

From Sept 27, routine testing was stepped up for staff from once in two weeks to twice a week.

While residents diagnosed with the infection are mostly taken to hospitals, the Agency for Integrated Care (AIC) said suitable residents may be admitted to MOH's community treatment facilities.

The community facilities provide "more comprehensive medical coverage than nursing homes, and can manage seniors who are stable or have mild symptoms", it said.

The Government has been working closely with nursing homes to facilitate vaccination. Inoculations are carried out by either the home's nursing team or mobile vaccination teams.

AIC urged all unvaccinated residents to take the jab as soon as possible as they are among the most vulnerable, and the vaccine can increase their protection against severe illness.

On Oct 5, MOH extended a suspension on visits to nursing homes until Oct 24. It was previously set to be lifted on Oct 11.

The delay seeks to buy more time for seniors to get vaccinated or receive their booster shots.

Malavika Menon

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 14, 2021, with the headline 'Nursing homes step up precautions'. Subscribe